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An Ode to The Pillow Book*

Things that are lovely to touch: Satin pillowcases. Silk pajamas. Blow-dried hair. The keys of a piano. The keys of a typewriter. Bread. Touch screen pads. Stress balls. The hair on a man's legs.

Things that are sexy but classy: Lace. A woman wearing glasses who does not reveal too much skin.

Breakfast is the most whimsical meal of the day. Bacon, eggs, blueberry pancakes, cereal. Just add milk and someone to share it with.

Upsetting things: Cramps. Not being able to speak because of cramps. Not having enough loose change. Not having enough paper bills. Having no umbrella. Hearing a lie disguised as truth. No peanut butter. No shoe size. Forgetting a pen. Torn paper bags carrying heavy books. Being ignored. Being always noticed. Gutter balls. Realizing you have to part with someone you miss.

Things that excite the sense of smell: New shoes. Coffee. The scent of a newly-opened notebook. A newly-bought book. Adidas Ice Dive. An old book, with yellowing pages. Vanilla. New cars. Old wine. Baby powder. Pheromones.

Things that stop you: Stoplight. Fear. The voice inside your head.

An affirmation of togetherness is the shift in pronouns. "We like peppermint mocha," or "We'll be there in a few."

Things that are sexy but never classy: A woman in a relationship who still entertains other men. Just because she can.

Things that are better when planned: Birthdays. Lunch dates. Midterms. Baking a cake. Eight hours of sleep. Entrance exams. Finals. Movie dates. Assassination plots. Wars. Oral reports. Interventions. Outfit. What earrings to match your outfit.

My idea of attractive comes with an intellectual requirement.

Unpleasant surprises: Quizzes. Rain when you have no umbrella. Sneezing inside a crowded bus. Bright, sunny day when you brought a jacket. Blood on your underwear.

Beautiful surprises: Free cuts. A good score when you studied. A high score when you slept all night. Gifts. Strikes and spares. Togetherness in the silence. When someone takes care of you even when they don't have to.

An affirmation of constancy is the use of present tense. "You're beautiful." An affirmation of certainty is the use of future tense. "We'll be okay."

Things better unplanned: Talking with your best friend in the atrium. Sleepovers. Brainstorming. Wrestling. First draft of a short story. Putting potatoes in corned beef. Kisses. Road trips. Drinking sessions. Foot massages. Seeing someone in between classes. Good night calls. Hugs. An Ode to The Pillow Book. Sunsets and walks in the rain.

*My take on The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon.

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